Bookmaker gives $50K from copyright suit to writing class

WAYNE PARRY

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A bookmaker that accused a rival of copying its sports betting guide almost word for word is, in a sarcastic jab, donating part of a lawsuit settlement involving the matter to a New Jersey college for creative writing courses.

William Hill settled a lawsuit in January it had brought against rival bookmaker FanDuel that alleged that FanDuel had copied William Hill's own betting guide.

On Thursday, William Hill will donate $50,000 to Rutgers University-Newark's master of fine arts program in creative writing.

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William Hill filed a copyright infringement suit in October in federal court.

It produced its guide last June when it began offering sports betting at Monmouth Park Racetrack.

FanDuel circulated a virtually identical guide at the Meadowlands Racetrack a month later, the lawsuit claimed.

Court documents outlined instances of entire blocks of text from the William Hill guide appearing verbatim in the FanDuel version, although in a different typeface.

The suit also claimed FanDuel copied diagrams illustrating possible bets and odds. For instance, a chart involving a 1:05 p.m. baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Philadelphia Phillies listing both starting pitchers and three different ways to bet on the game appeared identically in both publications.

The most telling instance involved a page in which FanDuel neglected to remove William Hill's name from text it allegedly cut and pasted into its own guide, according to the lawsuit.

William Hill and FanDuel are among the major players vying for dominance in New Jersey's rapidly growing sports betting market.

The lawsuit was an example of how important the nascent U.S. market is to both companies, and how zealously competitors in the industry will fight to protect their brands and market share with legal sports betting in its infancy in America.

New Jersey took its first sports bets last June. Since then, the state's casinos and racetracks have taken in at least $2.94 billion.

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Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

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